Thursday, September 26, 2019

Er . . . oops?

It seems a South Korean factory had an unexpected delivery the other day, courtesy of the US Armed Forces.

A U.S. military helicopter accidentally dropped a metal container unit being airlifted Monday in South Korea, damaging a building but causing no injuries, officials said.

The container was being carried via sling load by a 2nd Infantry Division helicopter when it fell onto a building in Yongin, just south of Seoul.

“By all accounts, it did cause property damage, but nobody was injured,” said 2nd ID spokesman Lt. Col. Martyn Crighton.

There's more at the link, including a picture of the flattened factory.  Apparently there was nobody in the factory at the time, which is a mercy.

The incident reminded me of one in South Africa many years ago, in which a helicopter was participating in a game capture and relocation project in one of that country's private nature reserves.  The way it was described to me, a young (half-grown) rhinoceros was darted and tranquilized, then loaded into a cage sort of thing for transport to its new home.  Unfortunately, the chopper was delayed, so by the time it arrived and hooked up the cage, the rhino was awake, and objected violently to this noisy, windy thing above his head.  As the chopper lifted the cage off the ground, the rhino charged the gate;  and since he was half-size, not full-size, he had enough room inside to work up a head of steam.

He burst open the swing doors, breaking the padlock securing them (which was obviously not rhino-proof), and charged out of the cage, looking for whoever was responsible for his incarceration in durance vile.  The ground crew scattered in all directions at high speed (something that is very strongly recommended when dealing with obstreperous rhinocerii at halitosis range).  The young rhino chased after a couple of them, but rapidly decided that putting distance between himself and that nasty flying buzzing thing was more important than pounding them into the African veld.

Meanwhile, the helicopter found itself with a suddenly wildly swinging cage, disturbing its center of balance or whatever pilots call it.  As it lurched in mid-air, the pilot decided it was long gone time to get rid of his unstable load, and hit the jettison button.  The swinging cage had just reached the point in its trajectory where a pickup truck was within reach;  and when the pilot hit the button, you can guess where it landed.  I was told that half a ton of (allegedly) rhino-proof cage does no good whatsoever to a one-ton pickup when it lands on top of the cab.

I was also told that the language from all concerned, as they picked themselves up and/or extricated themselves from the thorn bushes, was not of the sort that would commend itself to genteel discussion of the animal kingdom . . .


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